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Publishers of Unwritten Books?

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  • Publishers of Unwritten Books?

    Rather a cryptic title, but I was wondering if those with experience in the publishing trade (from either side of the typewriter) could answer a very stupid question for me:

    Is it theoretically possible for an unknown author/cartoonist to secure an advance on a book that he has yet to write, if he wishes to use the money from the book deal to fund the expedition that he will write about?

    I'm sensing a big, fat "NO" nudging at the membrane of reality, but I thought it was worth asking. I would be able to provide examples of my illustration work, and a first chapter which covered the "mission statement", as it were, explaining the motivation behind the trip and the goal of the "quest" (yes, it's a gonzo-style quest in to the heart of... well, that would be giving the game away ;)).

    Now if you'll excuse me, I have to answer the door to a big, fat "NO".
    "That which does not kill us, makes us stranger." - Trevor Goodchild

  • #2
    Mike the Imageless here!
    A big fat agent would help in this case. If a reputable agent represents you, then there is indeed a chance of getting funding for a book deal involving an expedition. Most of the programmes done on the Nature channel, say, are prefunded, usually by someone holding the movie rights, which is why lone yachstman seem to take so many pictures of themselves! You need an agent who specialises in such projects. Find out who other people have used successfully.\


    • #3
      Yes, there are quite a few 'pre-paid expedition' books: sadly, nowadays it's usually of the 'celebrity or other idiot paddles a fridge up the Yangtse with three photographers and a monkey to bring unneeded aid to remote tribesmen who can only get T-mobile coverage'. Gah! Gone are the days when 'sponsors' would easily cough up for a rather lightweight book or report (personal experience...!). H-o-w-e-v-e-r, the bookshelves do indicate an increasing thirst for the 'travel' book in our shrinking World: I would think that your illustrative skill and engaging and humorous writing would be a good prospective option, Dee...damn' sight better than most of that shite that they punt out at the moment...I mean, Ffyona Campbell...Jesus... :D


      • #4
        From beginning to end Dee it is sales. For someone to represent you and your ideas they have to be "sold" on you. Whether it is done through fame, brilliant ideas or perfect timing, the sale always has to be made.

        A 15 second sales lesson: Decide what it is you want (creation), define it clearly, specifically and write it down (definition), then ask, ask, ask and ask (result)

        If you do this long enough your vison will become realised.

        Hope this helps.


        • #5
          I guess anything's possible. I have heard that IceT got his first record contract (and huge advance) by psyching some music pimp, something along the lines of:

          Ice T: If you give me a quarter million dollars, I will give you the best rap album you have ever heard of. The stores won't be able to keep it on the shelves. Every single will go triple platimun in 5 minutes or less... I know the best rappers and DJ's in the world and you have never even heard of these guys.

          Music Pimp: Sounds great, this "gangsta rap" is really going to be huge, but why don't you just give me the album first? Or tell me where I can see your guys?

          Ice T: (delivers cold gangsta stare)

          Music Pimp: OK, here's the check.

          Ice T: (thinks) Wow, that was easy, now I need to put a band together and start recording most soonly...


          • #6
            I'm not sure I have quite the same physical presence as Ice-T, but I appreciate the thought. :D

            I suppose what really got me thinking was the work of Dave Gorman and/or Tony Hawks (no, not the skaterboarder). They both set off on rather pointless sounding "quests" (Gorman to "collect" photos of all the other people in the world who shared his name, and Hawks to travel across Ireland with a fridge), but their humour and intelligence elevated the whole thing from merely absurb to absurdly profitable! Sadly for me, both were well established stand-ups and comedy writers in their own right beforehand, so no doubt that helped a great deal.

            I can't sell myself, because I'm a nobody... and I'm not so sure my idea is strong enough to sell itself. Any smart chap in a suit will accuse me of simply trying to wangle a free trip to Paris, and that wouldn't be entirely untrue. But I do have a strong sense of how I could make it an emotional and spiritual expedition, rather than simply the story of a silly rosbif failing to cross the road and eating his own weight in smelly cheese.

            I'm not sure how to convince people that the craziness is fox-like... perhaps if I wore furry ears and a tail to meetings? Then again, I'm probably fall foul of the Countryside Alliance... 8O
            "That which does not kill us, makes us stranger." - Trevor Goodchild


            • #7
              Dee, one thing about us humans, in fact it is true of all life, each individual is totally unique. The mistake most people make is to try to be like someone else, to fit in. Well, you are like no-one else, you are yourself, with your own tastes and passions. Communicate this with empathy, listening to other peoples desires and you will sell yourself every time.

              The dream you have, your vision can be sold if you truly believe it. Let doubts be other people's limitations. However small you seem to yourself at present is relative to the place you are in with your own particular story. Imagine that some alien somewhere loves your life and has been watching it since the beginning and at this particular moment is cheering you on saying, "Please believe what The New One is saying about you. I love your story and I want more of the world you live in to share it. Believe it and be the travel writer I've seen you becoming. The world needs it.


              • #8
                New One, I think your Yoda avatar was well chosen! Thank you for that (although obviously it was intended for everyone, because everyone has a story, I still appreciate you addressing your comments my way). :D
                "That which does not kill us, makes us stranger." - Trevor Goodchild


                • #9
                  Hey Dee, I've just watched "The Incredibles" for the first time and both Dash, the young boy and Mr Incredible's obsessed fan say, "Everyone is special, which means no-one is special." The problem with this sentiment is it devalues your unique contribution. (Unless of course you are playing "the baddie" in which case it is essential to your character)

                  All I am saying Dee is, the more belief you have in yourself the more empowered you are to realise your dreams. Hard times or not.


                  • #10
                    Well if you can't get initial funding from a publisher - you could try to finance the thing yourself and sell the book after.

                    Check this out (not that I'm suggesting its a good idea - for one thing its already been done).


                    Its the online diary of a girl who rides her motorbike through the Chernobyl Zone - a little scary, but interesting all the same.
                    Batman: It's a low neighborhood, full of rumpots. They're used to curious sights, which they attribute to alcoholic delusions.

                    Robin: Gosh, drink is sure a filthy thing, isn't it? I'd rather be dead than unable to trust my own eyes!